Sunday, March 23, 2014

My niece's 18th birthday party

It was the morning of my niece's 18th birthday party.  I was frosting the cake and I couldn't get it to be smooth.  In my frustration, I started scraping the frosting off so I could start over but in the process of doing so, I accidentally sliced off a big chunk of cake from the side!  At that point, I began to panic.  If I acted quickly though, I still had time to bake another cake so off I went to get eggs from the fridge, only to find out we had ran out....

That was the moment I woke up....yes, it was just a nightmare!  Phew!

It was actually the morning of my niece's party yesterday (for real).  I had already finished baking and frosting 80 red velvet cupcakes the night before and had to empty our fridge to fit everything in. I still had to assemble the two-tiered cake.  I had been a little anxious about this (which explains why I had the terrible dream, I suppose).

To be honest, the party planning was a bit all over the place.  There was no specific colour scheme - the invitation was peach, my niece's dress was burgundy, the place cards were cream, the flowers were white, pink, fuschia, and red!

I decided to go with the peach. Weeks before, I had already planned on paper what I wanted the cake to look like.  Simple, straightforward, clean design.  Something I could handle without stressing too much.

6" and 8" 3-layered cakes, gumpaste ruffle flowers, '18' topper and stars.
I made the decorations in advance so those were dry, solid and ready to go.  The cake?  Easier drawn than done! It was raining all night and yesterday was a gloomy, cold day.  If there's one thing I really dislike about frosting a cake, it is doing it in this weather!  In my experience, probably because of the water in the air, even if my frosting is made in the right consistency, it becomes hard to spread rather quickly.  I turned the heater on to help dry out the air somehow.  I still had difficulty but I think it all worked out in the end.  By 1:00 pm, the cake was boxed and ready.

My daughter and I went to the venue about an hour or so before the start of the party to set up.  The place was absolutely beautiful!  I was excited because it was actually the very first time I would get to see my work displayed in a party this big.

I reckon my niece really liked them - when it was her turn to say a few words to the guests, she thanked me first ahead of everyone else!  I couldn't be more stoked and proud.

It wasn't until probably 9:30 to 10 pm did we get to sing 'happy birthday' then people started taking pictures of and with the cake :).

We had a wonderful night. My back hurts today but now it's Sunday and it's again time to plan for the week ahead.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Hello Kitty cake

I went out of my comfort zone and made a different kind of cake for a baby shower I went to yesterday.  For one, I didn't use a chiffon cake recipe (yes, really!) and secondly, I baked in a novelty pan for the first time!

The Wilton pan I used is actually designed for a one-layered cake only but I wanted two so I baked one cake (vanilla) in that pan and a separate sheet cake (chocolate) which I just carved in the proper shape.  I did this so I would have a flat surface for the bottom layer (without the Hello Kitty face indentations). On hindsight though, I could have just baked the chocolate cake on the shaped pan too then just leveled the cake off. That would have been okay too.  I saved all the trimmings from the sheet cake so I could also make cake pops out of them later.

I filled the bottom layer with cut-up strawberries.   Strawberries are quite expensive nowadays but since I didn't need a lot, I didn't mind buying some for this purpose.  I also tried the Rich 'n Smooth Tropic as a filling to go with the strawberries.  I wouldn't normally use something of this sort but the owner of the cake decorating supplies store I go to convinced me to try it.  It's surprisingly pretty good.  Very easy to use, tastes great considering it's non-dairy plus it's not at all sweet.

I crumb coated the whole cake with my usual buttercream but made sure I didn't cover the markings on the top or else I wouldn't know where to correctly pipe the bow, eyes, nose, and whiskers!

I am not a big fan of colouring buttercream, especially when it's very deep colours like red and black.  It's a good thing, I only needed a little of these colours.

After hundreds of little piped stars, the cake was finally completed!  It actually turned out to be bigger than I expected.

Out of the chocolate cake scraps and leftover buttercream, I was able to make 18 cake pops!  I wrapped them individually so I can give them to the little kids present at the baby shower.

What else can I say but that the cake was really delicious! I volunteered to cut and serve as I wanted to see first what it looked like inside.  

The vanilla cake layer was a little taller than the chocolate cake layer so next time, I might just use the shaped pan for both so I would get a more even height.

Overall, I am so glad I tried something different this time.  This is actually a practice cake.  Very soon,  I would have to make the same cake for my son's girlfriend's little sister's birthday.  She is turning 8 and she requested specifically for something Hello Kitty. I'm really looking forward to doing this all over again!